When I was a child, the Calgary Stampede was the highlight of our summer. Attending the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth was convenient because we lived on a farm south of the city. Our family certainly knew how to get the most out of the greatly anticipated event without spending much money.
On the Parade Route
At the Stampede Grounds
After we found a shady bench and ate the lunch we’d packed, an ice cream cone topped off a satisfying day. Then, footsore and sometimes even a little sunburned, we’d trudge back to the truck parked what seemed like a mile away. By 5 o’clock, we’d be back at the farm in time to milk the cows.
How I wish we could get together and do it all again.
Reflecting my cherished Western Canada and Texas rural roots, I am irresistibly drawn to the stories of country people whose lives resonate with purpose, courage and hope. I invite you to read more about them at www.elainethomaswriter.com to see other stories I’ve saved.
Always a true pleasure to read your posts. So many happy memories. Thank you
It’s funny, but we didn’t think it was odd to take our lunch or leave our farm truck on the street a long way from the fairgrounds so we didn’t have to pay parking. We didn’t miss going on the rides or seeing the paid amusements. We loved hearing the antics of the hackers selling their products in the Big Four Building and we eagerly anticipated seeing the animals in the ag barn. But the best part of the day was that ice cream cone or a Revel – chocolate-covered vanilla ice cream on a stick. That treat was out of this world!
Elaine, thanks for sharing your memories of your childhood experiences of what obviously was an annual highlight of each year! Having those photos are a great reminder of the fun times you had with your family. This was another interesting story, as well as a pictorial history lesson for me, since I knew very little about the Calgary Stampede. Great job!
Thanks, Carolyn. When my great-niece, Courtney, poured through old photo albums with my sister, Shirley, they had a great time. More memories were made in the process of telling this story!
Thanks Elaine for sharing your wonderful memories. I love getting to look back and remember those times! I look forward to all of your posts and hope you can speak to our DAR group this year.
Thank you, Paula! I’m glad you enjoyed time-tripping with me today. I found it interesting that my sister, Shirley, didn’t take a lot of pictures back when we were kids because developing rolls of film was expensive. However, she grabbed her camera to preserve some memories of the Calgary Stampede over several years and I’m so glad she did!
BTW, I’d love to speak to your DAR group. Please send me an email!
Thanks for the Calgary Stampede stories, Elaine. Sounds like my family’s 1950s trips from Alvin to Houston for the Rodeo and Fat Stock Show at the Coliseum where the Hobby Center for Performing Arts is located. During the Rodeo, we might of been lucky enough to touch the hand of the performer as he (never a “she”) rode around the arena after performing-Roy Rogers, Gene Autry or the likes.
Bob, you hit the proverbial nail on the head! ‘Stars’ like Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and ‘the likes’ made their way to the Calgary Stampede, too. After she started working, Shirley recalls buying tickets to take us to see Roy Rogers in The Corral, probably the equivalent of the Coliseum in Houston. It was, indeed, a big deal! Wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
Lots of great photos, but Little Elaine in her cowboy hat tops them all.
Aw shucks… Thank you!
As one of the readers commented, the Calgary Stampede reminds ME very much of the Houston Stock Show and Rodeo Show in the old Coliseum and Astrodome during its REALLY BIG “heydays.” I remember taking both Melissa and later one of my school classes up to the the Katy freeway (I10) to watch the caravan of “Trail Rides” entering from Western communities the day before it began. Needless to say, everyone avoided the freeway until the wagons and horses reached Memorial Park where they spent the night before going to “Opening Day”. George Strait remains the biggest ‘draw’ over the years but many stars (including Elvis) appeared at the Rodeo. I took Melissa and her best friend to see a small and VERY talented Michael Jackson sing and dance (backed by his big brothers) in the mid-seventies. I can understand your awe and excitement over being in the big crowd experiencing such a GREAT event as the Calgary Stampede through the eyes of a child!
Yes, the Coliseum and Astrodome were two Houston landmarks! What good memories you have of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. Aren’t they fun to look back on? What does Melissa remember?
Hi Elaine. Thanks for the timely and evocative Memories. Mine go back only to 1967 as I caught my first immigrant glimpses from our new home in Brandon Manitoba. Just watched the 2022 version of the Parade today from the comfort of my recliner and it never ceases to impress. What changes time has wrought though when along with the traditional floats and bands and Military participation, we now see entries comprising cultural groups representative of peoples and places across this wide world. Asia, Africa, South America and Europe (particularly the Ukrainian contingent) all made their way along Ninth Avenue and the remainder of the 5-kilometer route. It was witnessed by people from many parts of that world too, some of whom were interviewed by the roving commentators from our Calgary media outlets. Ihope you were able to “tune in” and see what has happened to your favorite parade after a couple of years without it.
Malcolm, it sounds like a fabulous parade! I will look forward to catching the highlights online. What a blessing that the Calgary Stampede, like so many other events and venues, is back after COVID and even better!
As an added comment, Elaine. I was also catching up a little with Winston’s reminiscences today as well as watching the Parade. He was so involved with it.
Yes, Winston Parker never lost interest in the Calgary Stampede that he watched grow and prosper. I always remember his story about driving the rodeo stock to the stampede grounds and having several head of cattle get into the cemetery. I bet those cowboys had their own little rodeo to move those bovines back into the herd! It’s in his book: https://www.amazon.com/Saddles-Service-Winston-Parkers-Story/dp/1719300801/
I love your memories of the Calgary Stampede. We always wanted to go. Made it to Calgary to play golf but missed the Stampede. ❤️
Well, Donna, there’s still time. Round up your family one of these years and head north! I can imagine that you and your husband enjoyed golfing in Calgary. Pretty, scenic courses with some spruce trees adding a special, relaxing scent. Thanks for your comment!
Fantastic photos Elaine. Love the one especially of you in the hat! I can see how the Stampede would be the highlight of the year.
What can I say? I’ve always been a hat girl. Here in Texas’ blistering sun this summer, I wear one every day. Thanks for reading!
Thanks for sharing the memories. Your writing really brings life long memories to all who read. Keep up the good work. I get the mental picture of 50+ years down the road when someone runs across one of your articles and receves the same reading joy from it that I did.
I’m so glad you enjoyed my walk down memory lane to the Calgary Stampede. Hope you are proceeding with gathering photos for your stories. It’s a lot of work but also great fun.
So enjoyed your story. You took me to The Stampede this morning! Brought back memories of day trips we took to The Houston Fat Stock Show with our delicious meat loaf sandwich lunches packed!
Hey, Peggy, thanks for coming along for the ride! You’re right about those sandwiches that our mothers packed for our outings when we were kids. They were so good eaten in different surroundings! I wonder why that was?
Elaine, even if it would be a different experience you should revisit the stampede if for no other reason to reclaim the experience and see how it has changed.
That sounds like a good idea. I’d have to buy a new cowboy hat!